Meet the Basset Breeds

Basset  Breed Health

With all living beings, whether human or canine, health issues and illnesses can occur.  The basset breeds come from long established, rustic stock, bred for work, therefore overall they are robust and healthy hounds with few problems.  However this is not to say they do not exist.  As with any breed (or even cross-breed) some health issues have arisen. 
It is therefore important that breeders only breed from a sire and dam that, at the time of mating, they sincerely believe to be sound, healthy and of good temperament - and whose forebears had no known health issues.
Currently, the Basset Fauve de Bretagne in the UK is officially free of any known hereditary problems. However to keep Fauves healthy the breed club is intent on monitoring the situation.  Some reported conditions may be generally described as hereditary, though it is thought such a disease  can occur spontaneously.   
On other health pages on this website you can find information about known hereditary problems in the PBGV and, to a lesser extent, the Basset and the steps breed clubs have taken, often in liaison with the Animal Health Trust, to conquer these health issues.
Other known general health problems are given here, with some information to help you.

Skin Problems

 Skin complaints can flare up in any breed, particularly in summer time.  Being lower to the ground, Bassets are probably more susceptible to the various irritants found in grasses or even to insect stings or bites.  Some complaints are due to flea allergies, or fox mange (sarcoptes scabei), which may be transmitted to dogs.  Nowadays this is not only restricted to rural areas but can also surface in suburbia. 
What to do if your basset has a skin problem:   In general, any skin problem, particularly if involving itching, scratching and hair loss, should be seen by your vet.

Hot spots

What are Hot Spots?
Like a moist dermatitis, hot spots can be a problem in warmer weather, particularly in the coated basset breeds.  
An area of skin becomes inflamed and infected appearing as a moist, oozing, reddened area that is painful and very itchy for your dog.  Any licking, chewing or scratching the area  worsens the condition dramatically.
How to treat Hot Spots
These can be treated succesfully by taking the hair away around the area to allow the skin to breathe and dry out and then by washing with antibacterial soap and applying an antibiotic cream or antiseptic solution prescribed by your vet.

Malassezia Pachydermatis

A Big Name for a Fungal Infection
For many years now Basset owners have been aware of this skin complaint.  It is the yeast scourge of several breeds and those that have folds of skin are sometimes more susceptible as these can harbour bacteria.  High humidity  and temperature may increase the frequency.
Some Bassets are prone to infection in warm or moist areas such as the folds of skin forming the dewlap, ear canals where the long ear flap captures warmth or between the toes.  This results in this extremely itchy form of dermatitis.   
Symptoms include:
*  Irritation of skin    *  Loss of hair (alopecia)
*  Greasiness               *  Scaly skin
*  Redness of affected areas
*  Malodorous discharge from lesions
*  Patches of skin becoming darker and epidermal thickening (seen in chronic cases)
Following Royal Veterinary College researches with affected Bassets, Malaseb was found to be effective.  This is an antibacterial and antifungal shampoo. 

Lumps and Tumours

Checking over your hound is especially important if it is a coated breed as small lumps can go undetected.
What is a Mast Cell Tumour?
Mast cells are part of the body's immune system.  They contain large amounts of histamine, heparin, and proteolytic enzymes (enzymes which break down protein). These can be toxic to foreign invaders, such as parasites, and are released when the mast cell is triggered by the immune system.  A mast cell tumour is formed from many of these mast cells. and can be benign or malignant.  They are "graded" as to how likely they are to be malignant. The higher the grade, the more serious the tumour.  They are usually removed surgically with a portion of healthy tissue around the tumor to ensure all is removed. 
Some benign fatty lumps may appear, for example on a dog's tail.  These will increase in size if not removed surgically (lumpectomy).

Early stage benign mast cell tumour 

Benign fatty lump on tail 

Ear Haematomas develop when the tiny blood vessels in your hound's ear leather rupture. The vessels bleed under the skin and form a fluid-filled pocket.  
With the basset breed's pendulous earflaps, hematomas may occur when a dog vigorously shakes his head, sometimes in response to ear infections or ear mites. Haematomas sometimes resolve by themselves though a  large earflap hematoma may require surgical drainage.

Earflap haematoma 

Mammary Tumours
Bitches are prone to these tumours which may be benign or malignant.  Causes are likely to be hormonal or genetic.  Surgery is advisable but the tumour may be slow growing and this option does not always guarantee a cure.  Depending on the age of your bitch, the type of tumour and the rate it has metastasized, your vet may remove just the tumour or surrounding tissue, lymph nodes and mammary glands as well.  Spaying can reduce the risk of developing this type of cancer.

A late stage malignant tumour